SF@STL: Lynn slips at first, but remains in the game

ST. LOUIS -- Lance Lynn paid the price for a first-inning out Sunday, when he hyperextended his right knee while planting it near first base at Busch Stadium.

The right-hander was evaluated prior to Monday's series opener against Kansas City despite saying he would be fine following the team's 8-0 loss to the Giants. Tests conducted by the Cardinals' training staff came back negative, and he is expected to make his next start.

Lynn allowed four runs in the first inning Sunday, three unearned after a one-out error. His day ended after 3 1/3 innings, allowing seven runs (four earned) on eight hits and four walks. It was the second-shortest start of Lynn's career.

"Yesterday was obviously a situation where he was having trouble even before that happened, trying to get things locked in," manager Mike Matheny said. "So it just compounded it."

Lynn downplayed the injury, but said it "didn't feel great." He didn't consider removing himself from the game, however.

"The only way I'm going to tell someone I'm coming out of the game is if I can't get the ball to home plate," Lynn said. "I got the ball to home plate, didn't I?"

Asked after the game if the hyperextension would keep him out, Lynn was confident he'd start Friday in Toronto.

"I'll be fine," Lynn said. "I'll be fine."

Carpenter sees luck changing during hot streak

NYY@STL: Carpenter lifts an RBI double to left-center

ST. LOUIS -- Matt Carpenter doesn't see anything different in his swing. The Cardinals third baseman insists his recent streak might be just as simple as his luck changing.

Carpenter entered Monday's series against Kansas City sporting a 14-game hitting streak, the longest active streak in the Majors. The 2013 Silver Slugger has started to settle in at the plate.

"As far as anything different, there's nothing I can put my finger on," Carpenter said. "Hits are falling right now."

During the 14-game span, Carpenter has hit .390 (23-for-59), raising his season batting average 35 points to .291.

An All-Star last season, Carpenter led the league with 55 doubles while hitting .318. The extra-base hits have fallen in the first two months this season, but half of Carpenter's 14 doubles have come during his streak.

"We're starting to see very typical Carp at-bats," manager Mike Matheny said. "We're seeing less swings and misses, and then to foul off a very close pitch that's marginal and might get called. He's got a real nice strike-zone awareness that has just been kind of uncanny, and hopefully that's something he continues to build on."

Carpenter has struck out nine times in the last 14 games after striking out 38 times in the first 43 games this season.

With the Cardinals having lost five of the first seven games on their current homestand, though, Carpenter hasn't put much thought into his hitting streak or recent stretch of success.

"Stuff like that, hits, streaks -- I'd go 0-for-4 every day if we'd keep winning," Carpenter said. "You want to do something to help your team win, but at the end of the day, it's all about winning games. We've got to find a way to start doing that."

Motte's return smooth through six outings

ARI@STL: Motte pitches for first time since 2012

ST. LOUIS -- Jason Motte turned back toward his locker to knock on wood Monday. So far, so good for the right-hander's arm.

Motte, who missed all of last season and the first 44 games this year while recovering from Tommy John surgery, was activated from the disabled list May 20.

In the 12 days since, Motte has appeared in six games with everything going according to plan.

"It's felt good," Motte said. "That's one of the main things is when you come back from this, you want to make sure everything is responding well and you're recovering well.

"Knock on wood, it's been responding well, so that's a good thing."

The large workload hasn't brought any ill effects, and Motte has produced since rejoining the Cardinals' bullpen. He has blanked the opponent in five of six appearances, allowing one run over six innings for a 1.50 ERA.

In the past 10 days, Motte has pitched in every other game.

"He's bouncing back well, and he's keeping his [pitch] counts low when he does get an opportunity," manager Mike Matheny said. "I think we're consistently seeing his stuff look more like we're used to."

One key to Motte's seemingly high workload has been the low pitch counts that have kept the innings from putting strain on his arm. Motte hasn't thrown more than 16 pitches in any outing.

Pitch counts, Motte said, aren't something he has given much thought.

"My job is to go out there and throw and try to get people out before they score," Motte said. "If I do it in 10 pitches, that's great. If I do it in 15, that's great. If it's 20, it's 20. I just go out there with the mindset I have to throw strikes, get ahead of guys and mix it up."

So far, so good, as 56 of 81 of Motte's pitches this season have been strikes.

Worth noting

Allen Craig remained in the Cardinals' lineup Monday, a day after he took an 89 mph sinker to the helmet in the third inning of Sunday's loss. Craig felt no symptoms and went to first base on the play.

• Triple-A Memphis starter Tim Cooney was named the Pacific Coast League's Pitcher of the Week on Monday. He tossed a one-hit shutout as Memphis defeated the Iowa Cubs, 4-0, Thursday.

Cooney was one out from recording the first no-hitter in Redbirds franchise history before Iowa's Arismendy Alcantara singled to left.

• Monday's game against Kansas City marked the first of nine consecutive games against American League opponents for the Cardinals. Following the two-game series at Busch Stadium, the Cardinals will travel to Kansas City for two games, followed by Toronto for three and Tampa Bay for two.